MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. -- Westlake Middle School students in Erika O'Byrne and Virginia Campbell's classes raised trout this spring, as part of the New York Trout in the Classroom program.
Students cared for the trout daily, feeding them and monitoring water temperature and pH and changing the filters in the classroom tanks to ensure the fish would thrive. On May 24, students boarded a bus that took them to the other end of Nanny Hagan Road where each of the students was able to release some of the fish — about 50 trout in all — into Whippoorwill Creek at the head of the Kensico Reservoir.
Kim Estes-Fradis the education director at the DEP was there to observe the release and praised the students.
"I had such a good time spending time with the students," she said. "They were so enthusiastic."
Seventh graders Nick Iacono and Jack Panzarella enjoyed taking care of the young trout. "They were really small,' said Iacono of the trout when they first got them. "Every day you got to watch them grow bigger and keep them healthy."
Keeping them healthy involved the responsibility of checking that the tanks kept the right environmental balance for the young fish. Panzarella said he felt like a parent to the trout and when he released them into the stream he was happy watching them swim toward the reservoir and their new home.
Trout in the Classroom has been part of learning at the middle school since 2001 and is spearheaded by science teacher Tom Hall. More on the program can be found at this link.